Snoring & Sleep Apnea Treatment

The common denominator of people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and airflow stops and the person is virtually not breathing. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp. Repeated cycles at night causes both very serious cardiovascular problems and a disrupted sleep pattern that always results in these individuals suffering from excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, depression, poor work and school performance and an overall loss of concentration.

The first step in treatment resides in recognition of the symptoms and seeking appropriate consultation. Dr. Manuel La Rosa offers consultation and treatments options for these issues.

In addition to a detailed history, the doctors will assess the anatomic relationships in the maxillofacial region. With CT Scan and airway-based analysis, Dr. Manuel La Rosa can ascertain the level and severity of the obstruction. To confirm the amount of sleep disruption, cardiovascular compromise and decreased oxygenation levels, a sleep study (polysomnogram) may be recommended to monitor an individual overnight.

There are several treatment options available. An initial treatment may consist of oral appliances and the use of a CPAP machine that delivers pressurized oxygen through a nasal mask to limit obstruction at night. In other cases, a radio-frequency probe is utilized to tighten the soft palate without the need for surgery (Somnoplasty).

There are surgical options such as an uvulo-palato-pharyngo-plasty (UPPP), which is performed in the back of the soft palate and throat. A similar procedure is sometimes done with the assistance of a laser and is called a laser assisted uvulo-palato-plasty (LAUPP). In more complex cases, the bones of the upper and lower jaw may be repositioned to increase the size of the airway (orthognathic surgery). This procedure is done in the hospital under general anesthesia and requires a one to two day overnight stay in the hospital.

OSA is a very serious condition that needs careful attention and treatment. Most major medical plans offer coverage for diagnosis and treatment.